The Gamification course I am auditing uses elements from a combination of the instructional design models we have studied this week. First, the course informs students of the objectives, which is event #2 from Gagne’s (1965) Nine Events of Instruction and step 2 from Fink’s (2003) Integrated Course Design Model. In the opening pages, the learner is given a basic overview of what they can expect, followed by a syllabus with course goals. This design decision impacts the course because the learning objectives and goals should align with the learning activities. Fink (2003) gives the example of a disconnected course, in which a teacher’s goals are for their students to learn all important content and to think critically. In this example, if it is a straight lecture course, the learning activities are clearly not aligned with the learning goals, as the students have not been given any opportunity to practice thinking critically. With this Gamification course, I initially had thought the creation of a gameful learning program would be one of the culminating tasks, however, this is not the case. If that were a requirement for a student, they would be able to quickly drop the course and find another one because they were informed early on in the course syllabus and subsequent learning goals.
Another element present from Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction is providing learner guidance (Event #5). An easy-to-follow and thorough explanation of how to navigate through the course is provided. I did not see an explicit example of this present in the Integrated Course Design Model. I feel this element is important, particularly when there are many learners that are not confident in their tech skills. Furthermore, even if a student has taken multiple courses online, there is a wide variety of learning platforms out there that all operate differently.
Although there is a quiz-style activity to try and gauge your familiarity with Gameful Learning, it is very ambiguous and certainly does not stimulate recall of prior learning (Gagne’s Event #3). Again, this element appears to be missing from Fink’s Integrated Course Design Model. I think a quiz with specific questions related to the course content would be more valuable. At the completion of the quiz, the learner would have the option to click on a link that would take them to a new page with information and content related to each question. Obviously, if students found the quiz super easy, they could skip these steps, but it would allow for some of the learners to build on their base knowledge. In a previous week, we touched on the importance of having a solid base before moving on and learning new information.
Instead of your typical text-based homepage that describes what the learner will be exploring, followed up by an introduce yourself forum post, I would have made sure to have a video pop-up that shows an awesome example of what is able to be created. I mean, really, this is a gamification course, not Literature of the Romantic Period (and trust me, it is as painful as it sounds; I have an English degree). The very first event in Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction, is gain the attention of students and I feel they missed an opportunity here.
One of the elements that resonates most with me comes from the Integrated Course Design, where effective teaching/learning activities are selected. I will use a math course to illustrate why. Around the world, students learn the same math principles, it makes no difference if you are in Zimbabwe or Mongolia. However, some students may have an advantage because their teacher has come up with creative and effective learning activities. Maybe it is because they have incorporated some kind of technology or were able to apply it in a real-world setting; regardless, the learning activity was successful and effective. Similarly, formulating appropriate feedback and assessment procedures is important to me. All too often, a student simply gets a grade or a mark on their assignment. If it was a piece of writing, why did it receive the grade? What was strong about the writing and what can the student do to improve it? These are crucial questions that students need answers to.
Dee Fink, L. (2003). A self-directed guide to designing courses for significant learning (pp. 2-4). Retrieved from http://www.deefinkandassociates.com/GuidetoCourseDesignAug05.pdf
Gagné, R. M. (1965). The conditions of learning and theory of instruction (1st ed.). New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.